In addition, Smith and Phipps made the third of four NCAA Coaches’ Panel Rankings, which, in conjunction with the rating percentage index, are used in the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
In the RPI, Smith, a three-time NCAA qualifier at 141 pounds, was slotted eighth while Phipps was 29th at 184 pounds and Hollingshead was 30th at 165 pounds. Smith was tabbed 11th in the NCAA Coaches’ Panel Rankings while Phipps checked in at 30th.
The NCAA also announced the qualifier allocations for the NCAA Championships, which were awarded based on current year data. The EIWA ranked second behind the Big Ten (80) with 47 allocations, two more than the Big 12. After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will select 47 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 6.
Smith will enter next weekend's EIWA Championships with a 24-3 record, a .888 winning percentage that's good for fifth in school history. He is currently riding a 14-bout winning streak that dates back to the prestigious Ken Kraft Midlands Championships, where he took third.
Smith was perfect in 2017-18 dual competition, posting a 16-0 record. He is the first Bison to go undefeated in dual competition (minimum five starts) since Andy Rendos accomplished the feat with a 12-0 record at 165 pounds during the 2009-10 campaign. Smith wrapped up his dual career on a 26-bout winning streak; over the course of that streak, which began on Jan. 14, 2017, he racked up bonus points in 18 bouts, winning four by fall, four by technical fall and 10 by major decision.
Smith leads the Bison in almost every statistical category, including overall wins, dual wins, EIWA dual wins (9), wins by technical fall (3) and wins by major decision (9). On Feb. 4, he edged American's Jack Mutchnik by a 4-0 decision to become the 10th Bison to reach the 100-victory plateau. His 102 career victories is good for 10th in school history while his .750 career winning percentage ranks ninth.
Phipps posted a 20-9 record during the regular season, including a 7-1 mark in EIWA action. He'll enter the postseason second among Bison in wins, dual wins (11) and wins by technical fall (2). His signature victory came on Jan. 20; with 21 seconds left in sudden victory overtime, he scored a takedown to stun then No. 16 C.J. LaFragola of Brown by a 6-4 decision.
Phipps, who placed third at Nov. 18's Navy Classic and Dec. 29's Lock Haven Classic, has won eight of his past 10 bouts, including the past five in a row. Since the calendar turned to 2018, he is 9-3, with four of his victories earning bonus points for the Bison.
Hollingshead went 17-10 during the regular season, winning six of his final seven bouts. He ranks second among Bison in victories by major decision (6) and third in dual wins (8). He won an individual title at Dec. 29's Lock Haven Classic, outscoring his opponents by a combined margin of 29-6, and strung together three four-bout winning streaks.
In the first NCAA Coaches’ Panel Rankings, Smith was slotted 13th. He moved into a tie for 12th in the second iteration while Phipps entered the rankings for the first time at 32nd. In the first RPI, Smith was ranked ninth, Hollingshead 25th and Phipps 27th.
The Bison will compete at the EIWA Championships, their qualifying event for the NCAA Championships, on March 3-4 at Hofstra's David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex in Hempstead, N.Y.